Kick It Out beats scholars target
Kick It Out has surpassed its target by delivering equality and diversity training to scholars at more than 20 different Football League clubs with three months of the season remaining.
The training has been delivered by Kick It Out, in conjunction with League Football Education (LFE), to clubs throughout the Football League to develop the life skills of players, and their knowledge and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, as they take their first steps into the professional game.
Gavin Willacy, the LFE’s Regional Officer for South and London, said: “The training is devised to raise awareness of equality and diversity and to get players thinking about discrimination. There are different issues at each club we’ve visited but all of the sessions have a common thread to make scholars think about their behaviour and whether it’s appropriate.”
Since the start of the season, Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, and Troy Townsend, the organisation’s Education and Development Manager, have travelled across the country to talk to 16-18 year old scholars about the importance of challenging discrimination, stereotypes and under-representation within the game.
Troy, a former non-league manager with Cheshunt and Leyton who now runs the S&T Academy in east London, said: “Kick It Out is now affecting the game at a level where the young people are made aware that they assume the mantle of role models faster than ever before. It shows that our message is spreading and we’re giving young players a thorough grounding in our area of work.”
Paul, an ex-professional footballer with clubs including Charlton Athletic, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, said: “Clubs don’t just produce footballers, but under a holistic approach, they help to create well-rounded people and this training allows them to define themselves. We hope that we’re able to leave the young players with the tools to recognise situations and challenge them as they see them.”
During the 2013/14 season, Kick It Out delivered the training to 19 different Football League clubs. This week, Dagenham and Redbridge and Colchester United undertook the session with their young players watching a 12-minute DVD on equality and diversity before being asked to name different types of discrimination, and then reminding them of their legal responsibilities by Troy and Paul.
The sessions then moved on to discuss conduct deemed to fall under the category of ‘banter’ and the use of acceptable and unacceptable language within dressing rooms and beyond, including on social media. As part of the sessions, free speech and discussion was encouraged and all players participated openly in an engaging debate about what was deemed acceptable and unacceptable.
Troy and Paul visited Fleetwood Town in January and Michael Tetteh, a first year scholar with the Cod Army, spoke about how beneficial he found the session and the lessons he learnt from it. “It was the first time I’d experienced the session from Kick It Out, and it opened your eyes to the banter aspects because sometimes you don’t pick up on it,” said Michael.
“Troy and Paul got our attention right away and we were all zoned in from the moment they started speaking. They were able to change the mood really quickly, and made the players think about their answers. What I learnt most was knowing the line between banter and bullying. Everyone has banter at different clubs but sometimes it gets taken that little bit too far.”
Here is the list of Football League clubs Kick It Out has delivered equality and diversity training to….
Preston North End
Dagenham and Redbridge